Diversity training unconscious bias: Everything to know

When we stand back and evaluate life, we soon need to concede that things add up over time. It can be both positive and negative. Often, we will hear people say that they have no regrets about their journey, as they are who they are today, as a function of everything that has happened to them. Having no regrets is one thing, but having the wisdom to learn from both the negative and the positive as part of our growth is preferable. This takes increased awareness.

This is where diversity training unconscious bias plays a key role. It elevates our consciousness, both the conscious and the unconscious dynamics at play within us. The importance of understanding ourselves as people fully cannot be underestimated if we want to become more self-determining with greater freedom to truly influence and be accountable for our own choices.

To become more inclusive and really embrace diversity constructively, it is essential particularly to come to grips with unconscious biases (also referred to as implicit or hidden bias). It can be everyone’s Achilles heel. None of us likes to admit we have attitudes or stereotypes that affect our understanding, actions, and decisions in ways that we are not consciously aware of as we feel less powerful or in control. This is especially as biases are triggered involuntarily (Staats, 2016) “by characteristics, we ascribe to others—based on factors such as ethnicity, gender, disability, and age, etc. that have been influenced by our individual background, cultural environment, and personal experiences”.

Looking within

Diversity and inclusion courses online teach us a level of acceptance about what has been and how it has created who we are today. This acceptance is a starting and turning point in elevating ourselves to higher levels of thought and functioning going forward.

It is through diversity training unconscious bias that we come to terms with critical realities and vulnerabilities and learn how to take better charge of our lives going forward. We are given the tools and ability to become more directed in our focus. Through ongoing awareness, we become committed to the continual considered evaluation of ourselves plus our actions in the first instance. 

Leadership development online is complementary to any diversity training unconscious bias undertaken as it illuminates leaders must create positive conditions for progress on diversity and inclusion to be achieved. Leaders become increasingly aware that “some conditions make it more likely for unconscious bias to be activated, such as distraction, time pressure, and ambiguity, etc.” (Bertrand et al., 2005). With increased insight and sensitivity to factors determining unconscious bias’ undesirable aspects, steps can be taken to mitigate these. This includes supportive policies, procedures, and checks and balances being instituted in organisations among other things. 

Deciding to change

One of the most exciting aspects of diversity training unconscious bias is understanding as well that it is malleable. This gives momentum to our aspiration to change if we recognise there is work to be done in this area to avoid limiting our positive progress.

We will walk away from participating in diversity training unconscious bias with a better awareness of our personal triggers and how to manage this in the interests of doing justice to ourselves and others. The aim is to shift experiential patterns and experiences so that essentially, we transform ourselves in the direction we most desire and believe to be good.

Diversity and inclusion courses online will enhance these efforts of personal transformation. They will tie together all the threads that make for a more meaningful collaborative existence with the people we encounter along the way.

As we broaden our “group” references in an affirming way, naturally our broader group affiliation will grow with both subtle and dramatic shifts in our unconscious bias. So, whilst we will never be free of unconscious bias, we certainly have it within us to influence our destiny and journey once we are awakened through knowing ourselves more intimately.